Updated: Oct 18, 2019
Everyone knows what the Church is. It’s the place where people gather to worship the divine. Not long ago in American culture, the Church was a staple of what everyone did. Not long ago Churches stood as a center in a community for people to find purpose and belonging.
However, in America in the 21st century, many people wonder what the point of Church is today. In fact, you can check out statistics from organizations like Push Pay which show us that many people across various age ranges either only attend church once a month or don’t at all. With these statistics, one begins to ask the question;
Is Church still relevant today?
It doesn’t take long when you log online and look at different communities online where you see people being anti-church or anti-evangelicals. Which I can’t really blame them. In recent years there has been what I would classify as a very vocal group of Christians who have preached hate and have attacked people and isolated those who don’t look the same of them. This is wrong, there is no way around it. Any version of Christianity that spews hate is counterfeit and counterintuitive to the nature of the Gospel and Jesus character.
However, because hate has been allowed to be the reigning narrative in some spheres it has caused the Church as a whole to seem less relevant today. Which is a big deal for us Jesus followers as our primary goal is to tell people about this dude name Jesus and invite them into his kingdom. If the Church is no longer relevant in its current form then we must reclaim what the Church was always meant to be about.
The ones who were called out.
How do we go about capturing the essence of what the Church was always supposed to be about? I believe to understand what the Church was always meant to be we must first understand the Greek word used to describe it in scripture.
Ekklesia: a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly.
Ekklesia means a group of people who were called out. These people would have been called out and gathered for a specific purpose.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2: 42–47)
The early Church gathered together. If someone had a need they met it. If there was an orphan they were taken care of, the widow had what she needed. The Church before it was anything else was supposed to be a place where everyone could gather and find community, no matter your race or economic status. The people of the church lived in a diverse community together back then and the point of the church was to be the ones who were called out to invite everyone to have a seat at the table.
I believe that the purpose of the Church is still relevant. I believe that the Church in western world has simply just lost its way. It lacks an understanding of what the Church is supposed to be about. We must go back to being an ekklesia, a group of called-out people living together, meeting the needs of people around them and making sure everyone is invited to participate in the story of the Kingdom.